Kirill Petrenko (photo: Chris Christodoulou )

Kirill Petrenko conducts Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta”

Peter Tchaikovsky’s last opera, Iolanta, is tender, magical and ambiguous. The focus of the story is a blind princess, who regains her sight through love – a rare happy ending in 19th-century opera. Tchaikovsky composed luminous, poetic music for the work, in which we also hear his love for French opera. Now you can discover this unjustly forgotten treasure in a performance with Kirill Petrenko. The title role will be performed by Asmik Grigorian, who has become one of the most sought-after singers in her field since her acclaimed portrayal of Salome at the Salzburg Festival.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Kirill Petrenko conductor

Asmik Grigorian sopranoreplacing Sonya Yoncheva

Mika Kares bass (King René)

Liparit Avetisyan tenor (Vaudémont)

Igor Golovatenko baritone (Robert)

Michael Kraus baritone (Ibn-Hakia)

Anna Denisova soprano

Victoria Karkacheva mezzo-soprano (Laura)

Margarita Nekrasova contralto (Marta)

Dmitry Ivanchey tenor (Alméric)

Nikolay Didenko baritone (Bertrand)

Rundfunkchor Berlin

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Iolanta, op. 69 (concert performance) (concert performance)

Dates and Tickets


Since the 2019/20 season, Kirill Petrenko has been chief conductor and artistic director of the Berliner Philharmoniker. He received his training first in Russia, then in Austria. The international music world first became aware of him when he premiered Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung at the Meiningen Theater in 2001, directed by Christine Mielitz and designed by Alfred Hrdlicka, performed on four consecutive days. He conducted the cycle for the second time twelve years later at the Bayreuth Festival. At the same time, Kirill Petrenko took up his post as general music director of Bayerische Staatsoper, his third leading position at an opera house after Meiningen and the Komische Oper Berlin. He also made guest appearances at the world’s top opera houses (from the Wiener Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London and the Opéra National in Paris to the Metropolitan Opera in New York) as well as with the great international symphony orchestras – in Vienna, Munich, Dresden, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Rome, Chicago, Cleveland and Israel. He made his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2006. Kirill Petrenko also appears with the Berliner Philharmoniker outside of Berlin – on tour and of course in the Digital Concert Hall. Selected performances are also available as recordings; most recently released was an edition with symphonic works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Franz Schmidt and Rudi Stephan.

One role made Asmik Grigorian world-famous virtually overnight: Salome in Richard Strauss’ opera of the same name. Since then, she has been at home on the great international opera stages. Asmik Grigorian was born into a family of singers. As both her mother and father enjoyed success on the stage, it was only natural for her to take up the same profession. She studied piano, choral conducting and singing at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, and began her career at opera houses in the Baltic States. In her early years, she sang more than 50 roles in a short time. Her both slender and powerful voice effortlessly expresses a wide variety of tonal nuances and is ideally suited to a wide range of roles: Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Janáček’s Jenůfa, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck and Senta in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, with which she made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 2021. She has also enjoyed triumphs with the female characters in Tchaikovsky’s operas – Marie (Mazeppa), Iolanta, Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) and Lisa (Queen of Spades). In the role of Iolanta, Asmik Grigorian makes her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker standing in for Sonya Yoncheva. In April 2022, she will appear with the orchestra under the baton of Kirill Petrenko as Lisa in Queen of Spades, first at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden, then at the Philharmonie Berlin. Her success is due in no small part to the fact that she intensively explores the women she embodies, trying to understand their every inner emotion – both the noble and the dark. She has completely internalised her protagonists: “There is also something of myself in all my roles,” she stated in an interview. “I call it diving into the deep waters of my personality.”

Kirill Petrenko (photo: Chris Christodoulou )

Asmik Grigorian (photo: T. Kolesnikov)